•She is traumatised–Family members
•She has no evidence–Lecturers, school authority
•Matter still under investigation-Police
Senator Iroegbu and Godsgift Onyedinefu
Twenty-one year old Miss Fatima Buba (not real names), a student of Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, like every of her colleague was hoping to get a degree in Management Science, and have her future ambitions met, but her journey took an unfortunate turn, just at the start of a new decade in January 2020.
On the fateful day, Buba had approached Dr. Muktar Bashir, a Lecturer in the Political Science Department of the University to complain about a course, she had persistently failed and sought to know why, but instead of getting the solution she sought, she was allegedly pinned to the ground and brutally raped by Bashir in his office.
Investigations revealed that the course which Buba had complained of repeatedly failing was previously handled by one Malam Ahmad Shehu Durbawa who had requested for sexual favours from Buba right from her first year in the University.
Traumatised by the incident, Buba opened up to her family who reported the incident to both the University Management and the Police, but reporting the case did not ease Miss Buba’s woes, it rather turned out to be the beginning of the second wave of nightmare that was still to end.
A committee was however set up by the University to investigate the allegation, but the student was allegedly subjected to aggressive and scornful questioning and disbelieving attitudes, a source told Global Sentinel.
“When she broke down during one of such questions in the hands of the only female member of the University Committee, the member allegedly dismissively informed the girl that the only reason why she reported this incident is because her quid pro quo arrangement with Dr. Muktar did not work out in her favour, the whole Panel was said to have erupted in laughter”, the source said.
“Convinced that she was not going to get fair treatment from the University and the Police in Sokoto, and upon a request to the IGP, the matter was transferred to the Force Criminal Investigation Division (FCID), Abuja, for further investigation. However, since the matter was transferred, in spite of repeated follow ups by the girl’s lawyer, the matter is yet to be charged to court”, he added.
Sirajo Abubakar Boding, Secretary, University Committee/Panel claimed that the victim was invited several times, but only appeared once, and several other attempts for her to reappear failed.
But the victim’s family as she could barely talk because of the traumatic experience, said they decided not to allow her panel again because of the humiliation she suffered the first time.
“They made her object of jokes and caricatures. Can you imagine one of the female members of the Committee saying she is reporting this now because the Lecturer did not fulfill his own part of the ‘quid pro quo’ arrangement and all of them busted out laughing. I mean how on earth do you think things young girl whose virginity was taken from her will gain by taking the pain to go public in a largely conservative place like Sokoto and face a panel in other to get justice”, a family member queried.
In their separate responses, Dr. Bashir denied the allegation against him, he claimed he had never seen the girl and only met her for the first time on the said day, after he returned from a three-year course outside the country.
He argued that the victim lacked any evidence to prove he raped her and that preliminary investigations have also found that no evidence exists to corroborate the allegations.
He narrated his own part of the events: “There was nothing, absolutely nothing. I was out of the country for three years and on return this student came, she said she has been failing for three years (that is the period the other Lecturer has been failing her for not complying with the sex for grades). She has been failing this course and that was when I was out of the country, she said she needed my help. I said; ‘okay, write to the exam officer, if you have any complain and the affected lecturer will be notified’.
“She did as I told her, after two days the letter was sent to us, we attached the booklet to the exam officer, same day she brought the letter. She scored 7/60. One month, two weeks later, we received this allegation.”
“A Committee was set up, they met three to four times, she did not provide any evidence of any kind, whether video, calls or text message, she could not. The Sokoto Police checked everything and there was no evidence.
“I have never seen this student, until the first day she came to plead for the support. How is this possible, in the day and she did not shout, how is it possible for one person to rape her and she did not report that day, and it’s after one month, two weeks, how is that possible? The allegation is completely false.”
Bashir said the case has been transferred to Abuja and threatened to institute legal action against the victim when the investigation is completed.
The second accused lecturer, Malam Durbawa, when contacted did not admit or deny the accusations. He only described it as mere allegations and declined to comment further.
Durbawa only said the allegation was simply impossible.
“It is just a mere allegation. The case has been reported and we have been invited and have argued our case. You need to liaise with the Committee in charge of the investigation. What do I have to say? How possible can this be?”
When Global Sentinel also reached out to the Investigating Police Officer in the matter, DSP Musa Ab Yohanna of FCID, who informed the GS that, he declined to speak in the matter. He said investigations are still ongoing and he has not been authorised to speak on it.
When contacted, the Lawyer, Mr. Kayode Ajulo, said Buba’s chances of getting justice will find largely on the findings from the police investigation.
Ajulo hoped that the police will come up with a forensic evidence to prove the allegations.
A source who spoke to Global Sentinel expressed fears that shoddy prosecution will frustrate Miss Buba’s chances of getting justice. So many rape victims in Nigeria who have been bold enough to seek justice have been denied this justice, due to the slow judicial process in which perpetrators ending up walking free.
Experts noted that the problem is escalating because of lack of accountability, punishment, naming and shaming, stressing that instead the burden and shame is placed on women.
As a result, a lot more victims are unwilling to report for this reason as well as the fear of being victimised and stigmatised by their community. The consequence of this is that, the menace of rape remains unabated and continues to eat deep unto the social fabric.
This is evident in the current situation in the country, despite public outrage over the bugbear of rape and other sex crimes, rapists seems to be having a field day in the country.
The country is still recovering from the rape and killing of a 22-year-old University of Benin (UNIBEN) student, Vera Uwa Omozuwa in a church in Benin City, Edo State on May 31, 2020 died of which her perpetrators are yet to be brought to book.
Nigeria recorded 631 rape cases in five months this year, of which 52 of the cases are undergoing prosecution. At least 799 rape suspects have been arrested.
A source close to the matter told Global Sentinel, alleging that the issue of ‘sex for grades’ and exploitation of female students is rife in Usman Danfodiyo University.
“I must say that this has been going on for a long time without any consequences. I commend this girl for her boldness. Also, there is light at the end of tunnel with the recent passage of the bill against sex for grades in the Nigerian tertiary institutions by the National Assembly,” the source said.